squirrels fruit trees

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Fruit Trees

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If you’re like most people, you enjoy having a few fruit trees in your backyard. Not only do they provide shade and privacy, but they also produce delicious fruit for snacking on. 

However, if you’re not careful, squirrels can quickly take over your fruit trees and steal all the good food. Here are a few tips on how to keep squirrels out of fruit trees.

Growing and harvesting fresh fruit from the garden is one of the most rewarding parts of gardening. That is why it is heartbreaking to realize that squirrels have ruined the fruits of your labor (literally speaking) before you can enjoy them yourself.  

So if you have pesky squirrels helping themselves to your fruit trees, don’t lose hope and keep reading. Below we’ll provide some helpful tips for keeping squirrels out of your fruit trees. 

What Fruit Trees Attract Squirrels?

Squirrels are attracted to our fruit trees for many reasons. In particular, however, they love the delicious flavors just like we do! Unfortunately, squirrels like to eat almost every type of fruit, with some varieties being more popular than others.

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Figs
  • Oranges
  • Plums
  • Nectarines

However, just because you grow one of the above fruits does not mean that your entire harvest will be ruined. You can take measures to protect your fruit trees from squirrels, chipmunks and other animals like birds. 

How Do I Protect My Fruit Trees from Squirrels and Birds?

Protecting your fruit trees from pesky critters can be a daunting task, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that your crop remains safe and intact.

Apply Repellent

Creating a potent repellent and consistently applying the solution is one of the most effective ways to protect your fruit trees from squirrels. However, it is essential to note that if you choose to make your repellent with chili peppers, the capsaicin in the peppers may only fend off the squirrels and not the birds.  

Reapplying squirrel repellent after rainfall and watering is crucial to maintaining an intense aroma. We also recommend giving up your repellent recipe in order to not let the birds and squirrels get accustomed. 

Protect your Trees with Wildlife Netting

Wildlife netting, also known as bird netting, is a mesh material that you can drape over and wrap around your fruit trees. To avoid potentially injuring and unintentionally trapping wildlife, you need to make sure the plastic netting is taut and well secured. 

It should be noted that while bird netting is effective with birds, it may not discourage squirrels. We have seen squirrels chew and scratch through the mesh to access the fruits. 

Install Baffles on Your Trees

Baffles are protective barriers or cone-shaped collars that wrap around the base of your fruit trees. Baffles prevent squirrels from climbing up the trunk to access the fruits. Baffles are easy to find at your local nursery or garden center. 

You may also want to consider making your baffle. Thin pieces of sheet metal or flexible plastic can be purchased at any hardware store. Cut the material to size, and wrap it around the tree so that the bottom flares outward. Then, you can secure the baffle to the trunk with wire strung through holes in the baffle. 

Place Decoy Predators Around Your Garden

You can scare squirrels away if you position decoy predators around your fruit trees. Plastic owls, hawks, scarecrows, and fake snakes are effective fake predators. If you do want to try this method, make sure periodically reposition the predators to keep the squirrels from growing accustomed to them.

Consult a Pro

If the problem gets especially bad and you’ve completely run out of options, then you might consider consulting a professional. Pest control experts will be able to assess your problem and offer guidance. Often, professionals will humanely bait, trap, and relocate the squirrels. 

What’s a Good Squirrel Repellent? 

Effective squirrel repellents employ intense aromas to create an invisible odor barrier that keeps squirrels out of certain areas and away from specific plants. 

There are plenty of squirrel repellents you can purchase from your local garden center or hardware store. However, we prefer to make our repellents with household ingredients. 

Simple and effective squirrel repellents can be made with ingredients you already have around the home. Vinegar, garlic, and scented dish soap are all good options, but we prefer using hot chili peppers, for example, cayenne or hot pepper oil.

Simply mix the cayenne pepper with water in a spray bottle and spray it around the fruit trees you want to defend. Remember to reapply after watering and rainfall to help control and get rid of squirrels.

How Do I Keep Squirrels from Eating My Peaches and Other Fruits?

We think fresh peaches are delicious! Unfortunately, squirrels do too. 

And if they get the opportunity, squirrels will ravage the edible fruits well before you are able to harvest. The good news is there are various tactics you can utilize to protect your peach trees.

  • Spray your homemade squirrel repellent such as hot pepper spray liberally and consistently.
  • Scare the squirrels away from the trees with decoy predators, reflective objects, and decoration that makes noise and moves such as garden spinners.
  • Only include squirrel-resistant fruit trees in your garden.

Squirrel Resistant Fruit Trees

Growing a fruit tree such as an apple tree in the garden is enjoyable. However, it’s not as fun when the neighborhood squirrels ruin all the fruit. So if you want to plant a new fruit tree in your garden, we recommend growing a squirrel-resistant variety. 

Squirrel-resistant fruits are ones that squirrels typically do not enjoy. Sometimes squirrels find the flavor of certain fruits to be undesirable. Squirrels also don’t like fruits that are too challenging to eat due to their rough exterior. 

After doing some research and pulling from our own gardening experience, we have found the following fruits to be the most squirrel-resistant.

  • Avocados
  • Pomegranates
  • Limes
  • Kumquats
  • Lemons

How Do You Squirrel Proof a Tree?

Completely squirrel-proofing a tree can be a time-consuming undertaking. You will need to experiment to find which methods work the best for your garden. Yet it is possible! 

Typically, you will find the most success when you utilize multiple tactics at once. For example, we install baffles on every trunk to protect our fruit trees, routinely spray squirrel repellents, and protect our trees with wildlife netting if the problem is terrible.

You can try something similar to regain control over your precious fruits. Good luck!

See more ways to keep squirrels away from garden and plants that squirrels hate.

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*image by DHDeposit18/depositphotos

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